Chapter 17- Come On All Of You Big Strong Men, Uncle Sam Needs Your Help Again

Afghanistan flag, American flag, United States Marine Corps flag

Please read the beginning of this story as shown within the “Afghanistan Story” tab above.

Afghanistan, June 2010, Camp Delaram

*SMASH* *SMASH* *SMASH*

I jerked awake, delirious. Where the fuck am I?

*SMASH* *SMASH* *SMASH*

“Corporal, wake up!”

*SMASH* *SMASH* *SMASH*

“Holy fuck, I’m coming, hold on!”

I sprinted to the door and swung it open, the sun blinding me.

“Argh!”

I swung my arm over my eyes and, blinking rapidly, tried to adjust my eyes to the brightness. Once my eyes stopped watering, I was able to focus on the person standing in front of me. The Marine stood in front of the door and was awkwardly avoiding looking at my legs and my eyes. I knew his face and had no idea who he was. My eyes weren’t focused enough to read his name on his cammies.

“What do you want?”

“Sorry to bother you, Corporal, but you’re wanted up on the hill.”

“What? By who? What time is it?”

“Staff Sergeant Rambo, Corporal.”

He glanced at his watch.

“It’s 1300.”

I seriously got three hours of sleep?

“What does he want?”

“I dunno. But he said to be quick.”

“Of course.” I rolled my eyes. “I’ll be right up.”

I shut the door and went to throw my clothes on. Socks, cammie bottoms, boots, boot bands tight, blouse, cover, rifle. I walked quickly up the hill.

When I walked into the network tent, there was a Marine standing next to Rambo’s desk. He was a Lance Corporal who I knew worked in the networking section during the day shift with Ski. It looked like they had been waiting on me.

“Hurry up.”

I shuffled over rapidly to the desk.

“Because of the rotations of R&R, we don’t have many people to cover the networking work that lies outside of this base. The grunts within the town of Delaram need help with their WPPL. Comm went down and it needs to get back up.”

R&R was Rest and Relaxation. It was a mandatory period of leave that any Marine who had been in country for over six months was forced to go on. The Marine Corps acted like it was to give Marines rest but it was really so they wouldn’t have to pay additional money to Marines with a deployment that lasted over six months. By breaking up the year long deployments with R&R, the Marine Corps saved money.

The WPPL (wireless point-to-point link) was a piece of equipment that extended communications from one site to a geographically separate site. From what I could gather during the ten seconds of this conversation, the grunts inside the town of Delaram were getting communications through a WPPL connection to our site on the base of Delaram. I should’ve known this, but I had only been exposed to this network for maybe two weeks and my brain was jumbled with numbers and locations as it was.

Rambo looked at me.

“You and Virkler are going to get up Comm.”

I glanced at the Lance Corporal. He looked back at me warily.

“Yes, Staff Sergeant.”

“Go pack for a few days. You guys get your flak jackets, kevlar, and all 180 rounds of ammo. The grunts will be here soon.”

“Yes, Staff Sergeant.”

We turned to leave.

“Cannon, wait.”

I turned back. The drop of formality surprised me.

“Look, you aren’t supposed to go outside the wire. All females were pulled from the front lines. Congress doesn’t want you out there. I could get someone else to cover this for you but..” He shuffled some papers on his desk. “They won’t be back for a while and we need this done. Do you think yo-”

I cut him off.

“I want to go.”

He looked at me for a long couple of seconds.

“Just don’t do anything stupid, okay? You aren’t out there, do you understand?”

He gave me a pointed look.

“Yes, Staff Sergeant.”

I raced off to get my stuff.

Finally! I get to do real Marine shit!

Continue Reading In Chapter 18…

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